Is it time to de-Flash your site?

Flash is a problem for iDevices, which makes mobile access to a website problematic. Here's what smart shops are doing about it

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  • Identify the portions of your site that are built in Flash by finding files with the extension .swf.
  • Convert the code from .swf using a conversion tool such as Google's Swiffy or Adobe's Wallaby and test the results. If the results are satisfactory, you can then use this code in place of the Flash content. Code is converted to a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

If the conversion tools fail, further evaluation is needed. In many cases, basic slideshows or music players can be replaced with JavaScript libraries: jQuery, Prototype, and MooTools are just a few of the popular plugins available.

Crawford says, "There is a thriving community developing tools such as jQuery Cycle Plugin for basic slideshows, and jPlayer for multimedia playback, that are excellent." This is worth noting because support for multimedia in HTML5 is not yet complete, he says. "Removing Flash entirely may not be possible."


  • Identify the portions of your site that call external services that may be using Flash. (For example, video and audio files served from services such as YouTube may call Flash movies to play their content.)
  • Search the external sites for newer embed code that works regardless of the presence of Flash. Test, and then replace the old code. YouTube at one time used object code to embed Flash. Currently, YouTube recommends iframe code that calls the appropriate content based on browser capabilities.

For more complex applications, there may be no other choice but to reprogram. In these cases, a cost-benefit analysis of your options needs to done.

David Weldon is a freelance business and technology writer in Massachusetts, and a former Computerworld senior editor. Contact him at

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This story, "Is it time to de-Flash your site?" was originally published by Computerworld.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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